More than 200 years have passed since the United States of America participated in her first war. Many soldiers have shed their blood to establish, defend, and expand freedom and independence. Certainly there are those who see the strength and courage of the American soldier more as a conquerer, a taker, a war monger than a hero. Whatever your view of American conquests, one thing is undeniable: your right to disagree, to speak, and to express your opinion was paid for by their sacrifices. There are nations on earth today where dissenting opinions are met with swift and harsh punishment in response, in some cases, even death.
Parents have a great opportunity on Veteran’s Day to express honor and respect and to encourage service to this great experiment called The United States of America.
1. Honor those who were willing to stand and fall for you when you could not.
Long before you, me, our parents, or our grand parents had a say in decisions made, men and women who cherished freedom and liberty over life, stepped up on our behalf and fought the tyranny of a selfish and cruel king. As we look back on the heritage of soldiers, they have one thing in common that deserves endless honor: courage to face the enemy with a faithful determination to win at all costs. That does not mean they were not afraid, it simply means they faced their fear, and for you and me, charged forward anyway. Please speak kindly of our legends and legacy. Smile at them. Shake their hand. If you are brave enough, hug their neck and tell them thank you.
2. Respect for the discipline and daily sacrifices made to be a soldier.
In war time, there are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers who will never come home again. There are children who face each day without their parents or siblings because their families chose to stand for something bigger than themselves. Few things ruffle my feathers more than those who criticize, complain and condemn the idea of military service and use their blood bought liberty to vocalize and demonstrate their disdain for what America stands for in this world.
I know, we soldiers volunteered to serve… most of us. We chose to go to war, to serve in peace time, to forego some of life’s luxuries to be a part of the U.S. Armed Forces. It still breaks my heart to see people who do not possess the courage to volunteer, but consider it brave to burn the very flag that represents the right for them to have an opinion and share it. Sometimes the best expression of an opinion is silence. Or as Thumper’s mother said, “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.”
3. Service to your homeland, your country, your nation is not about national arrogance.
For generations the U. S. Armed Forces have represented the face of many nations. Immigrants from all over the world have lined up to become a part of the greatest nation on God’s green earth. Many of them have also volunteered to shed their blood to defend the life they came here in pursuit of. Knowing they might not personally live out the life of peace and prosperity they sought, but their children and grand children might enjoy that rich and precious opportunity.
If you have not been beaten, threatened with death, imprisoned for your ideas, religious expression, life style choices, pursuit of life, liberty and happiness – THANK A VETERAN! Without them, you would not have any of these rights or pleasures.
Tomorrow is the day that we in The United States of America express our gratitude for those brave enough to face the blades, bullets and bad guys so we can sleep peacefully at night. If you see someone in uniform, wearing a patch, badge, flag or insignia of the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, Cost Guard or Civil Air Patrol, take 30 seconds of your day and say thank you.
About the author:
J Loren Norris is a disabled veteran of the United States Air Force. Loren served as a Crash Rescue Fire Fighter from 1988-1993 during the first Gulf War – Desert Storm. During his first year in the service Loren spoke to hundreds of elementary school students with his robotic fire hydrant. Loren is now a Conference Speaker in the area Leadership and Communication. Learn more at JLorenNorris.com